“It’s really important to us to have a lot of dancing at our wedding. Is there any guidance you can give us?”
– Ashley / Wedding Date: 8.18.12
We received the above question from Ashley this week and she poses a common concern among couples getting married: What can we do to ensure a great reception? Below are a few guidelines to help create an atmosphere conducive to dancing.
While elements like lighting and décor do play a role in creating atmosphere, 81% of guests say the thing they remember most about a wedding is the music. The tone for the evening really begins during dinner, before the dance floor ever opens. Your DJ should not “auto play” dinner music and sit down to eat with your guests. A good DJ is vested in “actively programming” your dinner music in a way that energizes your guests. Based on your input, your DJ should play music based on beats per minute, i.e. slower songs at the beginning of dinner and gradually increase the tempo and volume into dessert. The goal is to get your guests tapping their feet, bobbing their heads, and itching to get out on the dance floor. We want to energize your guests early in the night.
As for the rest of the evening, be sure to communicate your music tastes, must play songs, do-not-play songs, and your stance on guest requests during the planning stage. By setting guidelines, your DJ will know what requests to take and which ones to avoid. Instead of trying to select “wedding music”, you should focus your attention on selecting songs and genres that you really like. If you are not sure what you like, try to pick songs you know that your friends or family enjoy. In our experience, when the bride and groom and the bridal party are out on the dance floor, that energy resonates with the rest of the crowd. Remember, your guests are all there to celebrate with you.
A good DJ will be able to evaluate your crowd and “dial in” the music that resonates with you and your guests. It is important to communicate with your DJ and be very specific about the atmosphere you expect. In addition, provide your DJ with a solid list of true Must Plays with an accompanying list of notes like: “We especially enjoy 80’s new wave” or “we love current dance music” or even “we like country and rap”. Giving these types of notes allows your DJ to exercise some creativity and select songs that are complementary to your must play list. On the other hand, if you do not have any specific requests and are not really sure what you want, be sure to communicate that with your DJ.
A great way to get reluctant dancers involved is to include song dedications. “This song is dedicated to cousin, Mike.” Mike may have been sitting in his chair all night, until he heard “Teach Me How to Dougie” ,at which point, he sprung out on to the dance floor and a circle formed around him as he performed the “Dougie” to perfection. Dedications also work well for slow songs. Do you have anyone celebrating an anniversary on or around your wedding date? Find out ahead of time what their first dance song was and have the DJ make a special dedication.
Your DJ’s objective is to keep the dance floor full and, at the same time, satisfying the guidelines you have provided. Therefore, communication is paramount when planning your reception. If you take the time to plan your night and set realistic expectations, you and your guests are sure to have a memorable evening.